© 2019 - 2020 Stacie Hammond
It's gray and damp and rainy in New York, today.
Often, in winter, I visit one of the local arboretums...to get a taste of the tropics in the cold. It's an instant boost and a mood lifter. Warm, humid air, fresh and bright florals and fragrance, it just fills my soul up. It feeds my dopamine, if you prefer. It provides a dose of bliss and simple pleasure in an otherwise monotonous and dreary day. And it's great for creativity.
My feeds and the TV and the papers all shout the same things at me... impeachment, the environment, oil and climate and the hungry and the division and destruction and on and on until I could easily fall into a depression, trying to come to terms with all of it at once.
But I breathe into presence. And Grace. And the petals of a flower and how Nature could come up with this... this intricately designed, exquisite, simple yet complex, beautiful and little delicate thing that wants only to be colorful and pleasing and produce its nectar. It is because it is and I allow myself to marvel at it. And the world slows down, within, and then without, once again. I can focus my energy, as the world spins, onto this steady and simple piece of living poetry and I fall into it, easily.
Notes from a garden meditation:
And aren't we all Nature. Of it and in it, all at once, and here is the paradox. A system, at once, set on both self-destruction and self-preservation. As is the human body. Red cells; white cells. Lovers and fighters. And to keep that balance is always the order of the day. Are the good things being fed, are the bad ones being starved? So it is with our thoughts, as well, if we can gain distance from them. For a few moments, at least.
And I hover and float as I sink into meditation some more. Surface thoughts dissipate and float off. Grand ideas and solutions and wonderment and simplicity return.
And if we could only hold all that Light in a shaker bottle, far above the Earth... and dispense it like we do pro-biotics into our own bodies. Add more good, to gain a bit more beneficial flora, to outweigh the bad. And if only we could sprinkle some life-sized pro-biotics onto our planet. Good to outnumber the bad. Or beneficial to outnumber the depleting, but who gets to say? Who chooses, is there still a right and a wrong or is rational thought gone? Do facts matter or does majority rule reign?
Lighter and lighter still, as I float.
And there we all are... specks on this rock. A number of us arguing and scuffling about matters of great weight, or so they seem. A number of us fighting for what is right, or so we insist. A number of us building new things, destroying old things, moving things, preserving things. A number of us jumping, dancing, singing, laughing, playing, searching, running. A number of us crying, rocking, swaying, isolating, caught up in fear and defensiveness. But from up there, we're just the gummy and moving film that coats the big rock, like an algae, really, and what a ruckus we think we make. What a ruckus we try to make.
"See me, hear me, feel me..." The Who
And I consider how long we are here, how long we get to be here, as a moving part of this cosmic film, these tiny moving pieces that are part of a much bigger universal puzzle. And how do I want to spend that time? Scurrying? Arguing, judging, fighting? Destroying or healing? Creating or condemning?
Fearing or loving.
And if Love is the magic elixir in the cosmic goo that makes us shine and bond together like so many molecules that mesh together toward some greater thing, then let us Love. Let us give off luminescent Light, from within the mess. Let us be catalysts, one by one by one by one until we're two by two by two...creating a chain reaction, and on and on.
What if we, human beings, capable of such wide and vast and unlimited intellectual perspectives, and also of such narrow and limited, earthy ideas, what if we were said pro-biotics. Walking manifestations of bacteria and molecules and energy and light that are capable of great change, should we put our minds to it. But we often seem to be too busy numbing or entertaining or distracting our minds... to properly use them. Because it's exhausting, really. But what an amazing machine is the human mind, when properly lit up and utilized and plugged into its source.
And if all minds, lit up and turned on could work toward a greater good, simultaneously. Wow. What couldn't we do? Oh, but we differ, individually, don't we? And will we ever agree enough to move any given thing forward, or will we constantly disagree and battle our extremes against each other - in the grand coliseum - for sport?
Rome still stands, it often seems. Great battles keep us entertained and engaged on things other than ourselves and our potential. Still.
But to choose silence. Peace. To seek within. To seek out one's own mind and its limitless capabilities. To connect from within, from that place of effortless and underlying connection, like the roots of a tree far beneath the dirt, like synapses in the brain firing up with light when new connections are made. And what if all minds, all consciousness, was this way? Connections awaiting spark; separate fires in the dark?
What if the world was filled with these separate camps, small blazes, tribes huddled together, at different times, but each thought their own camp was the only one with light? They might give up after a while, their burning into the dark night, searching for life. But if each camp knew it wasn't alone and that their lights were brighter together, from a distance... they might coordinate for a larger purpose.
Which is why individual and inner work can be so vital, in these times.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life. “ - John Lennon
When we love ourselves fearlessly, we learn to care for ourselves, deeply. And this love, this inner-radiance, this universal and powerful life-force, spreads to others and to all life-forms around us and within us.
Energy is contagious, whether it is positive or negative.
And yes, all this from a simple flower.
Take from it what you will; be it artistic or esoteric.
Silence, presence, and inward journeys are gold for creativity - new ideas, perspectives, understandings, and appreciations. And you do with it what you will, it's our choice, individually, but to get there - to that place - of hearing yourself, and not just the numb of the outside world, is where the goodies are.
Then, I ate a sandwich (lettuce wrap). Because - grounding.
Oh, and I loved my sandwich, too.
Only Ever Love
Something funny happened last night. My little one was with his Dad, doing fun stuff with cousins, I presume. I had every opportunity to go out and be reckless, or even just...cozy and lush and jazzy with bourbon in hand. To go a-drinkin. Hangin' out. To mix and meet and mingle in loud and numbing, pulsating rooms. I could’ve. I had places in mind. Venues. Some money in the bank. I’ve done it so much, so many times. Free! And I’m not one of those who are introverted and shy about strolling into a restaurant, club, bar, venue alone and chatting up who’s there. I used to joke that: “after two drinks, we’re all best friends anyway!” Ay... :cheers:
And I do still enjoy a nice bourbon cocktail, or a glass of wine, or a cold beer, here and there, every few months or so with family and close friends. I'm not a big drinker by any means, it's never been a drink-to-get-drunk thing for me. And no judgment, always do you.
But I just hadn’t the desire last night. I wanted peace. I wanted easy and lazy and yoga pants. I had nothing to prove and had no interest in pretense or small talk or overpriced plates. And I wanted to wake up rested and ready and feeling good for another day off. So, I watched Gone with the Wind, had veggies and yogurt ranch dip, a few chocolate covered strawberries, one indulgent piece of tiramisu (so worth it), and later on did some blissful rocking-chanting-sageburning-beadholding-mantra singing-soulpartying for all the Peace and Love on Earth.
It’s been a while. I've had a lot going on.
I’d forgotten how good it felt to just connect, vibe, appreciate, hold space, stretch, lay flat in shavasana, and celebrate the very notion that we’re here. Now. On this beautiful rock, together, lighting it up with love, all over the world, as millions gathered and celebrated and chanted and rocked out and danced hard and held great hope for things to come. A consumer extravaganza? No question, but still.
Optimism can be a drug, too, and a healthy one. It just feels good to feel good, doesn't it? And how much more kind, open, and trusting are we... when we feel good? When we're gathering, when we're at ease?
If you’re sensitive to group meditations and infectious energy and how it all resonates and ripples outward and connects us all, you know NYE is very special in that regard. So many cities, in succession, around the world, celebrating life and opportunity. Together. Regardless of any other beliefs. And yes, there is sadness, loneliness, hardship all around as well. But also, so much hope, joy, wonder, gratitude, and peace. Unity. Uh, I live for it, when we all just vibe and get along. BLISSSSSS...
Oh, I do run on. I know.
This morning I slept in, woke up refreshed and rested. No hangovers or drama. Just pop out of bed and go. How nice? So, I went for a quick chilly hike, I felt great and wanted to move around. I drove up the Hudson and stopped at a favorite riverside park and walked around. I stopped at a local coffee spot there and got a mocha-something, guilt-free. Delish. And I drove home, my mind free to release things and consider things and let go of things and make room for more things. Creative ideas. Dinner ideas. Big, beautiful future ideas.
I got home, made a bite, and took out the vacuum and started cleaning up. And mid-vacuum, I had the best cry. Out of nowhere, like it finally had the room to pour out. You know when it just won't stay in anymore? Days and days of pent-up who knows what that didn't really bother you at the time, and it just picks these weird moments to squeeze out of you. And I forgot how great it feels to allow that. Those cleansing moments, letting it all go. The release. Life is full of moments that stress us, upset us, confuse us, gut-punch us, snicker at us. No big deal, but sometimes it lingers, festers. And hormones are a joy, too. And that release is so important. Stagnant emotions cause health problems, something I'd learned all too well.
And I only mention it to stress that... emotion is human. And healthy. And right. And so many of us stifle and silence our emotions in the pursuit of appearing perfect or all-together. Sometimes it's taught to us, from young. Suck it up, stop crying, get a hold of yourself. You're so dramatic. Oh my God, but you're SO normal though, really. You're supposed to feel. Feel all the things, feel them! And also, a reminder that emotions are full of charge and information...they teach us things. To feel so strongly and powerfully about something, or a circumstance, or a someone, is an indiction that they are important. Emotions move us closer, deeper, into ourselves and away from what isn't for us. Toward what's really true and really worthwhile. Emotions show us what we really care about. They have so much to say and they can help us create beautiful art, as well.
In the digital age of instant gratification and "don't catch feelings," and "stay up," and all the rest... I'm here to remind you that it's all so very okay and human to feel and have joy and sadness and long stretches of awkward reality to deal with. It's life. The clouds are lovely, but we've got to walk through the dirt, sometimes, too.
Always listen, when your heart starts to speak. In cries or screams or contented sighs or sweet, singing, intoxicated bliss. Listen in. To all of it. It all matters. The emotion exposes the true desire, the root, and then a plan becomes the solution, the map, to fulfilling that desire. And then, an action starts the journey toward it. The emotional outburst is the clue, the whisper, the inner-inclination that you've been ignoring for too long. So it got louder. That's what I think, anyway.
It's all on time. So, don't fear the feels, my friends. Observe them. They carry wisdom, from you...to you. You truest strength, and greatest contributions are built from your own inner wisdom. Even when it's just normal passing ups and downs, it doesn't have to be deep grief and soul-healing to be lesson-worthy.
Oh, and that peaceful moment when the stress leaves the body and you know... you've answered your own questions. You just had to give the space. All that's left... are the next steps. One foot, then another, then another, then another...
Happy New Year <3